Improving staff health and wellbeing

A series of dynamic wellbeing initiatives has not only improved our employee's health and wellbeing, but also changed perceptions. Read the case study to learn more.

Sustainable Development Goal 03: Good health and well-being

Sustainable Development Goals:
Goal 3: Good health and wellbeing


For many years, ‘wellbeing’ at Melbourne Water had been perceived as ‘nice to have’ rather than an integral component of our personal health and safety ethos. While good physical health and safety is culturally accepted – and has considerable time and effort devoted to it – the importance of wellbeing has generally received less attention.

Project focus

In order to change this, we set out to deliver a series of dynamic wellbeing initiatives designed to not only improve our health and wellbeing program, but also to change perceptions.

To do this, we asked our workforce what they thought was important. Our approach and the feedback gathered was underpinned by the following principles:

  • Focus on real risk. For example, melanoma is a real risk for our crews exposed to UV while working outdoors.
  • Accessible for everyone – activities to be run at even the smallest Melbourne Water sites
  • Simple and practical
  • Has an element of ‘whole of life’ – this acknowledges the 24-hour person rather than treating work and home life as distinctive areas, as we believe that people carry negative and positive behaviour from one area to the other. 

Two children in front of a sign at the Western Treatment Plant
Family members at a Family Fun Day at the Western Treatment Plant

Key activities of the new wellbeing program include:

  • Skin cancer checks offered to all our employees and contractors. Close to 1,000 of the 1,100 Melbourne Water employees attended the checks, with over 30 people diagnosed with some kind of skin cancer.  
  • Twenty-minute voluntary health checks, which include a mental health questionnaire that gives a score for stress, anxiety and depression. Those with high mental health scores have been referred to our Employee Assist Programme and followed up. Over 350 people have attended a health check.  
  • Extending flu vaccinations to contractors as well as staff. Pharmacy vouchers were offered to people who couldn’t attend a flu vaccination at our sites.  
  • Offering a series of ‘Family and Friends’ after-hours sessions on first aid and mental health topics, to which employees or contractors could invite their family members or friends.
  • Mental health topics focused on building strong relationships, how to speak to teenagers and other communication skills.  
  • Organising family fun days across Melbourne Water sites, where employees could invite family members to their place of work on a Sunday for lunch and fun activities.  
  • A selection of assistance programs including traditional counselling, financial advice, manager assistance, lifestyle advice including nutrition, conflict assistance and family assistance.  


Since offering these initiatives, we’ve received dozens of emails sharing positive feedback about the program, demonstrating that a focus on wellbeing does make a real difference in people’s lives. Importantly, this can strengthen relationships not only within the Melbourne Water community, but also with our contractors and partners.

Last updated:
26 November 2021